On Security

What Drives Terrorism Part 5: The Media

Jun 1, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
A salesman in an electronics store watches the World Trade Center in New York City collapse Sept. 11, 2001.
A salesman in an electronics store watches the World Trade Center in New York City collapse Sept. 11, 2001.
(Susana Gonzalez/Getty Images)

What drives terrorism? This series has strived to identify the forces that influence trends in terrorist tactics, targets and tradecraft. From them, observers can place attacks in context, and can even anticipate the next evolution in terrorism. The first part examined the importance of ideology and terrorist theory. The second focused on how political and economic developments influence these dynamics. The third looked at how counterterrorism efforts make their mark on the terrorists they are trying to stop. And the fourth investigated how technology has made its impact on terrorists. These factors are distinct from the psychological and social forces that lead an individual to become radicalized, which will not be discussed here. This final installment discusses how the media has long played a role in making terrorism what it is. And while it's an important one, especially when combined with the other four influential forces, it has the added benefit...

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